Jewish Studies

Nicholas de Lange

Japheth in the Tents of Shem

Greek Bible Translations in Byzantine Judaism

[Japheth in den Zelten des Sem. Griechische Bibelübersetzungen im byzantinischen Judentum.]

129,00 €
including VAT
ISBN 978-3-16-154073-8
Published in English.
Nicholas de Lange provides the first full account of Jewish use of Greek Bible translations, focusing on the medieval period. His work sheds light on the life, religious culture and languages of Byzantine Judaism, and on the different translations, especially Akylas.
Much scholarly attention has been paid to the Greek Bible translations employed in the Byzantine Church, whereas those used in the Byzantine synagogue have so far been largely ignored. Nicholas de Lange attempts to remedy this lack by collecting together all the available evidence for such translations from the Cairo Genizah fragments and other manuscript sources, setting it within its context in Byzantine Judaism. He traces the history of the translations over a period of a thousand years and demonstrates the persistence of a certain approach to translation which ultimately goes back to ancient Judaism and has left its mark on the Septuagint and in the Dead Sea Scrolls, as well as in the Rabbinic literature and the Targums. Much attention focuses on the lost translation of Akylas (also known as Aquila) which played a key role in the dissemination of Rabbinic Judaism in the Greek-speaking communities of the Near East and Europe. There are traces also of the Septuagint, something which raises intriguing questions about a continuing Kulturkampf in Byzantium between Hellenism and Rabbinism; might this have implications for the understanding of Byzantine Karaism and Jewish-Christian relations? Byzantine Judaism played a key role in the transmission of Jewish religious culture from the Near East to Western Europe, meaning that this study has wide ramifications. The book is intended as a contribution to Greek Bible studies, Byzantine studies and Jewish studies. Most of the source materials were discovered and published by the author, with this being the first time they have been brought together and studied in book form.
Survey of contents

Part 1: Preliminaries
1. Sources and studies – 2. Byzantine Judaism – 3. The ancient Greek translations

Part 2: The Greek Bible in Byzantine Judaism
4. Early Byzantium (4th-7th century) – 5. The 'Dark Ages' – 6. The Age of the Genizah – 7. After the Latin Conquest

Part 3: Conclusions
8. Conclusions

1. The manuscripts – 2. Later translations

Nicholas de Lange Born 1944; 1962–69 studied at Christ Church, Oxford; 1970 DPhil; 2001–11 Professor of Hebrew and Jewish Studies, University of Cambridge; Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge; Fellow of the British Academy.


The following reviews are known:

In: Review of Biblical Literature — (12/2016 + 7/2018) (Robert J. Littman / Edmon L. Gallagher)
In: Henoch — 39 (2017), pp. 170–173 (Alexei M. Sivertsev)
In: Old Testament Abstracts — 39 (2016), S. 477 (C.T.B.)
In: Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses — 93 (2017), S. 518–520 (R. Ceulemans)
In: Theologische Literaturzeitung — 142 (2017), S. 191–193 (Johannes Niehoff-Panagiotidis)
In: Journal for the Study of the OT — 41.5 (2017) (Lester L. Grabbe)
In: Frankfurter Judaistische Beiträge — 43 (2019/20), pp. 97–102 (Saskia Dönitz)
In: Estudios Bíblicos — 2017, Heft 2, S. 322–324 (Natalio Fernandez Marcos)
In: Istoricheskaya Expertiza — 2017, Nr. 4, S. 261–265